Hollis’s twin sister is married to Sawyer’s twin brother and they grew up together. But while Sawyer is vibrant and outgoing, Hollis is painfully introverted and stuffy. Hollis has crushed on Sawyer but he doesn’t believe that Sawyer will ever settle and take a relationship seriously because he’s always flitting from one interest to another. On top of that, Christmas is a hard time for Hollis because he hasn’t gotten over the death of his parents.
I always enjoy the Christmas/winter themed romance novels that come out this time of year! I always prefer dual POV’s so while this was still good, I would have loved having Sawyer’s side. I think it really would have helped developed his character as a settled, changing man. Albert still does a great job of showing Saywer’s growth and I believe him when he says he’ll stick, but seeing his inner thoughts would have made that stronger.
I really liked Sawyer — he’s always happy and excited and ready to embrace everything in life and enjoy it all. He was a good match to bring Hollis out of his funk and to also keep him from completely sinking into loneliness.
Hollis is very British in a somewhat stereotypical way with his proper mannerisms and speech and his love of tea and paper/pen products. He’s a huge introvert and his social anxiety reminded me of someone I know. It was interesting to see because Annabeth Albert does a really good job of showing how crushing those feelings can be for someone. Hollis’s concern about gossip and crowds and what people will think could have come across and juvenile and silly but instead Albert handles it well and it comes across as a genuine problem that some people have to deal with. I also liked that though Hollis lets go of some of his grief and embraces a relationship with Sawyer, his core character personality doesn’t change; he doesn’t suddenly become this extroverted person. I always hate when author’s do that in novels because it’s just not real. But no worries here, because Hollis is still his normal introverted self.
••• Book Details •••
Portland Heat #5 • Romance, LGBTQ+, Contemporary • Lyrical Press • December 6, 2016
For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected.
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